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Echocardiography, also known as echocardiogram, cardiac echo or simply an echo, is an ultrasound of the heart that helps our veterinarians visualize the cardiovascular system and identify abnormalities.
Echocardiography uses 2-D, 3-D, and Doppler ultrasound to capture images of an animal’s heart. Our veterinarians use echocardiography when they need to diagnose, manage and follow-up with our patients that are either suspected to have or have already been diagnosed with heart diseases. Echocardiography is one of the most commonly used diagnostic tests in cardiology. It can help our expert veterinarians learn vital information about your pet’s heart health including its shape and size, its pumping capacity, and whether or not there is any tissue damage.
With an echocardiogram, our veterinarians can learn how an animal’s heart is functioning by evaluating things like cardiac output (how much blood the heart pumps through the circulatory system in a minute), ejection fraction (how much blood the left ventricle pumps out with each contraction), and diastolic function (how well the heart relaxes). These insights help us monitor for heart diseases like mitral valve disease, dilated cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and more.
If you notice a heart murmur, lingering cough, increased respiratory rate, or trouble breathing, it might be a good idea to visit us for an echocardiograph. Some other indicators of heart disease may include lethargy, collapsing episodes, fluid in the abdominal area, and lack of appetite. Our veterinarians may administer an echocardiography test if they believe your pet may be suffering from heart disease.